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The Liturgical Year

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Under this heading of Proper of the Time, we here comprise the movable Office of the Sundays and Ferias of Advent. Though anxious to give to the faithful the flowers of the Advent liturgy, yet were we to bring forward even those which might be considered as the choicest, four volumes would have barely sufficed. The fear of making our work too expensive to the faithful, persuaded us to limit it within much narrower bounds, and out of the abundant treasures before us, to give what we thought could be least dispensed with.

The plan we have adopted is this: We give the whole of the Mass and Vespers for the four Sundays of Advent. On the ferial days, we give one, at least, of the lessons from Isaias, which are read in the Office of Matins; adding to this a hymn or sequence, or some other poetic liturgical composition. All these have been taken from the gravest sources, for example, from the Roman and Mozarabic breviaries, from the Greek anthology and menæa, from the missals of the middle ages, &c. After this hymn or sequence, we have given a prayer from the Ambrosian, Gallican, or Mozarabic missal. So that the faithful will find in our collection an unprecedented abundance of liturgical formulæ, each of which carries authority with it, as being taken from ancient and approved sources.

We have not thought it desirable to give a commentary to each of the liturgical formulæ inserted in our work. It seemed to us that they would be rendered sufficiently intelligible by the general explanation which runs through our work, in which explanation we have endeavoured to excite the devotion of the reader, give unity to the several parts, and afford solid instruction. We shall thus avoid all those repetitions and commonplace remarks, which do little more than fatigue the reader.

We have inserted the Great Antiphons and the Office of Christmas Eve in the proper of the saints, because both of these have fixed days in the calendar, and to put them in the proper of the time, as they stand in the breviary and missal, would have required us to introduce into a book, destined for the laity, rubrics somewhat complicated, which would, perhaps, not have been understood.

For more information on the season of Advent, visit here.

We apply the name of Christmas to the forty days which begin with the Nativity of our Lord, December 25, and end with the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, February 2. It is a period which forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year, as distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other, as are Advent, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost. One same Mystery is celebrated and kept in view during the whole forty days. Neither the Feasts of the Saints, which so abound during this Season; nor the time of Septuagesima, with its mournful Purple, which often begins before Christmastide is over, seem able to distract our Holy Mother the Church from the immense joy of which she received the good tidings from the Angels[1] on that glorious Night for which the world had been longing four thousand years. The Faithful will remember that the Liturgy commemorates this long expectation by the four penitential weeks of Advent.
[1] St Luke ii 10.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Christmas)

For more information on the season of Christmas, visit here.

This third section of the liturgical year is much shorter than the two preceding ones; and yet it is one of real interest. The season of Septuagesima has only three weeks of the Proper of the Time, and the feasts of the saints are far less frequent than at other periods of the year. The volume we now offer to the faithful may be called one of transition, inasmuch as it includes the period between two important seasons—viz., Christmas and Lent. We have endeavoured to teach them how to spend these three weeks; and our instructions, we trust, will show them that, even in this the least interesting portion of the ecclesiastical year, there is much to be learned. They will find the Church persevering in carrying out the one sublime idea which pervades the whole of her liturgy; and, consequently, they must derive solid profit from imbibing the spirit peculiar to this season.

Were we, therefore, to keep aloof from the Church during Septuagesima, we should not have a complete idea of her year, of which these three weeks form an essential part. The three preliminary chapters of this volume will convince them of the truth of our observation; and we feel confident that, when they have once understood the ceremonies, and formulas, and instructions, offered them by the Church during this short season, they will value it as it deserves.

For more information on the season of Septuagesima, visit here.

We begin, with this volume, the holy season of Lent; but such is the richness of its liturgy, that we have found it impossible to take our readers beyond the Saturday of the fourth week. Passion-week and Holy Week, which complete the forty days of yearly penance, require to be treated at such length, that we could not have introduced them into this volume without making it inconveniently large.

The present volume is a very full one, although it only comprises the first four weeks of the season of Lent. We have called it Lent; and yet the two weeks of the next volume are also comprised in Lent; nay, they are its most important and sacred part. But, in giving the name of Lent to this first section, we have followed the liturgy itself, which applies this word to the first four weeks only; giving to the two that remain the names of Passion-week and Holy Week. Our next volume will, therefore, be called Passiontide and Holy Week.

For more information on Lent, visit here.

After having proposed the forty-days’ fast of Jesus in the desert to the meditation of the faithful during the first four weeks of Lent, the holy Church gives the two weeks which still remain before Easter to the commemoration of the Passion. She would not have her children come to that great day of the immolation of the Lamb, without having prepared for it by compassionating with Him in the sufferings He endured in their stead.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Passiontide and Holy Week)

For more information on Passiontide and Holy Week, visit here.

WITH this volume we begin the season of Easter, wherein are accomplished the mysteries prepared for, and looked forward to, since Advent. Such are the liturgical riches of this portion of the Christian year, that we have found it necessary to devote three volumes to it.

The present volume is wholly taken up with Easter Week. A week is indeed a short period; but such a week as this, with the importance of the events it brings before us, and the grandeur of the mysteries it celebrates, is, at least, equivalent to any other section of our Liturgical Year. We have abridged our explanations as much as possible; and yet we have exceeded two-thirds of one of our ordinary volumes. Hence, it was out of the question to add the remaining weeks; the more so, as the saints’ feasts recommence on the Monday following the Easter Octave, and their insertion would have obliged us to have made our volume considerably more bulky than even that of Passiontide. We have, therefore, been satisfied with giving the Mass and Office of the Annunciation, already given in our volume for Lent, but which are needed for the Monday after Low Sunday, when Easter falls between March 22 and April 2, which is frequently the case.

For more information on Paschal Tide, visit here.

This volume opens to us the second part of the Liturgical Year, beginning the long period of the Time after Pentecost. It treats of the feasts of the most holy Trinity, of Corpus Christi, and of the sacred Heart of Jesus. These three feasts require to be explained apart. Their dates depend on that of Easter; and yet they are detached, if we consider their object, from the moveable cycle, whose aim is to bring before us, each year, the successive, and so to speak historic, memories of our Lord’s mysteries. After the sublime drama, which has, by gradually presenting to us the facts of our Redeemer’s history, shown us the divine economy of the redemption, these feasts immediately follow, and give us a deep and dogmatic teaching: a teaching which is a marvellous synthesis, taking in the whole body of Christian doctrine.

The Holy Ghost has come down upon the earth, in order to sanctify it. Faith being the one basis of all sanctification, and the source of love, the holy Spirit would make it the starting-point of His divine workings in the soul. To this end, He inspires the Church, which has sprung up into life under the influence of His impetuous breathing, to propose at once to the faithful that doctrinal summary, which is comprised in the three feasts immediately coming after Pentecost. The volumes following the present one will show us the holy Spirit continuing His work, and, on the solid foundations of the faith He established at the outset, building the entire superstructure of the Christian virtues.

This was the idea which the author of the Liturgical year was busy developing in the second part of his work, when death came upon him; and the pen that had begun this volume was put by obedience into the hands of one, who now comes before the faithful, asking their prayers for the arduous task he has undertaken, of continuing the not quite finished work of his beloved father and master. He begs of them to beseech our Lord, that He Himself will vouchsafe to bring to a successful termination an undertaking that was begun for His honour and glory, and that has already produced so much fruit in the souls of men.

Br. L.F. O.S.B.

Solesmes, May 10, 1879.

 

For more information on Time after Pentecost, visit here.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

WHEN we assisted at the holy Sacrifice during Passiontide. our attention was fixed on the real immolation of the Lamb; we looked upon the altar as a new Calvary; and our devotion was centred upon the divine Victim slain for our ransom. During Eastertide the Lamb presents himself to us in another aspect; he is living, he is resplendent with glory, he is the Conqueror. He still deigns to be immolated; but it is that he may invite us to a joyous banquet—the banquet of the Pasch—wherein he gives us to eat of his Flesh. In her chants during the Mass the Church is untiring in her Alleluia; she affectionately kisses the Wounds of her Jesus, which now dart forth rays of dazzling brightness. Her altar is the throne of the risen God; she approaches it without fear, for the divine Conqueror of death, though so resplendent in his glory, is more loving and affable than ever.

Another source of joy to the Church, when at the holy altar, is the sight of her children partaking of the banquet of the Paschal Lamb. Each church is now a Cenacle, where Jesus celebrates the Pasch with his disciples. The holy Table is no longer the feast of a chosen few; the guests come in in crowds, and the House is filled. Now is the great figure of the Old Law changed into a reality. ‘At this Table of the great King, the new Pasch of the New Law puts an end to the ancient Passover. The new excludes the old; reality puts the shadow to flight; light expels night.’[1] We are the children of the promise; we have not denied Christ, as did the Jews; but we acknowledged him to be our King, while his faithless people were dragging him to execution. He, in return, has invited us to his Pasch, and there he is our host and our food.

During Eastertide, then, the holy Sacrifice puts these two spectacles before us in a most special way: a Victim who is risen from the dead, and yet is still immolated in a real though unbloody manner; and a Table prepared for the eating of the Lamb, which is, indeed, offered during the whole year to the faithful for the life of their souls, but which is now frequented by all. At this Table is likewise fulfilled the prophetic symbol of the ancient Paschal Lamb. For fifteen hundred years it was the figurative Lamb; the true Lamb has now reigned nineteen hundred; and this is the Lamb whom the holy Mass reproduces in all the efficacy of his Sacrifice and in all the magnificence of his glory.

We ought, therefore, during Paschal Time, to assist at holy Mass with these great truths present before our minds; and whilst thinking of the beauty of the ancient types we should be most grateful to our Heavenly Father for having given us to live under the reign of the new Pasch. Let us be present at this great act of the Christian Religion with extreme joy of soul, for it is here that we have, in all his reality, the same Jesus who rose again from the dead, to die no more. Let us unite with his holy Mother Mary, with Magdalen, and with his disciples. They had the immense happiness of seeing and conversing with him for forty days after his Resurrection: he shows himself to us, also, in this august Sacrifice. Let us give him our adoration and love, and with all possible fervour.

We will now endeavour to embody these sentiments in our explanation of the Mysteries of the holy Mass, and initiate the faithful into these divine secrets; not, indeed, by indiscreetly presuming to translate the sacred formulae, but by suggesting such acts as will enable those who hear Mass to enter into the ceremonies and spirit of the Church and of the priest.

During a considerable portion of Paschal Time the Mass is celebrated in commemoration of the great Mysteries which were accomplished at this season of the liturgical year; the prayers used by the Church on these several feasts are given in their proper places. On other days the holy Sacrifice is generally said in honour of the saints, except when a Sunday occurs.

On the Sundays, if the Mass at which the faithful assist be the Parochial, or as it often is called the public Mass, two solemn rites precede it, and they are full of instruction and blessing: the Asperges, or sprinkling of the Holy Water, and the procession.

During the Asperges let us recall to our minds the baptism received on Easter Eve by the Neophytes. Let us also think of our own, whereby we were made members of Christ. The water that thus regenerated us was made fruitful by the Blood of the Lamb and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Antiphon of the Asperges

 

Vidi aquam egredientem de templo a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi facti sunt et dicent: Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
Gloria Patri. Vidi aquam.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, alleluia.
℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis, alleluia.

Oremus.

Exaudi nos, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de cœlis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet, atque defendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Amen.
I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia: and all to whom that water came were saved, and they shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Praise the Lord, because he is good; because his mercy endureth for ever.
Glory, etc. I saw.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy, alleluia.
℟. And grant us thy salvation, alleluia.

Let us Pray.

Graciously hear us, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God: and vouchsafe to send thy holy angel from heaven, who may keep, cherish, protect, visit and defend all who are assembled in this place. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

The procession, which immediately precedes the Mass, represents the holy women going to the Sepulchre, with the intention of re-embalming the body of their divine Master. They found it not there; but Jesus at once showed himself to them, and they returned filled with wonder and joy.

But see, Christians; the Sacrifice begins! The priest is at the foot of the altar; God is attentive, the angels are in adoration, the whole Church is united with the priest, whose priesthood and action are those of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Let us make the sign of the cross with him.

 

THE ORDINARY OF THE MASS

 

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.
℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.

Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti? et quare tristis incedo, dum affiigit me inimicus?

Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.

Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea? et quare conturbas me?

Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.
℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

℣. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
℟. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I unite myself, O my God, with thy Church whose heart is filled with the hope of soon seeing, in all the splendour of his Resurrection, Jesus Christ thy Son, who is the true Altar.

Like her I beseech thee to defend me against the malice of the enemies of my salvation.

It is in thee that I have put my hope; yet do I feel sad and troubled at being in the midst of the snares which are set for me.

Send me, then, him who is light and truth: it is he who will open to us the way to thy holy mount, to thy heavenly tabernacle.
He is the Mediator, and the living Altar: I will draw nigh to him and be filled with joy.

When he shall have come, I will sing in my gladness: Be not sad, O my soul! Why wouldst thou be troubled?

Hope in thy Jesus, who will soon show himself to thee as the conqueror of that death which he suffered in thy stead; and thou wilt rise again together with him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

I am to go to the altar of God, and feel the presence of him who desires to give me a new life!

This my hope comes not to me as thinking that I have any merits, but from the all-powerful help of my Creator.

 


The thought of being about to appear before his God excites in the soul of the priest a lively sentiment of compunction. He cannot go further in the holy Sacrifice without confessing, and publicly, that he is a sinner, and deserves not the grace he is about to receive. Listen with respect to this confession of God’s minister, and earnestly ask our Lord to show mercy to him; for the priest is your father; he is answerable for your salvation, for which he every day risks his own. When he has finished, unite with the servers or the sacred ministers in this prayer:

Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam æternam.
May Almighty God have mercy on thee, and, forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.

The priest having answered Amen, make your confession, saying with a contrite spirit:

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus sanctis, et tibi, Pater: quia peccavi nimis, cogitatione, verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes sanctos, et te, Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.
I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to thee, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, and thee, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.

Receive with gratitude the paternal wish of the Priest, who says to you:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam æternam.
℟. Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
℟. Amen.
May Almighty God be merciful to you, and forgiving your sins, bring you to everlasting life.
℟. Amen.

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.
℟. Amen.

 

Invoke the divine assistance, that you may approach to Jesus Christ.

℣. Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos.
℟. Et plebs tua lætabitur in te.
℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.
℟. Et Salutare tuam da nobis.
℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
℣. O God, it needs but one look of thine to give us life.
℟. And thy people shall rejoice in thee.
℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
℟. And give us to know and love the Saviour whom thou hast sent unto us.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto thee.


The Priest here leaves you to ascend to the altar; but first he salutes you:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℣. The Lord be with you.

 

Answer him with reverence:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.                                                                   ℟. And with thy spirit.

He ascends the steps and comes to the Holy of Holies. Ask, both for him and for yourself, deliverance from sin:

Oremus.                                                                                    Let us pray.

Take from our hearts, O Lord, all those sins which make us unworthy to appear in thy presence; we ask this of thee by thy divine Son, our Lord.

Aufer a nobis quæsumus, Domine, iniquitates nostras; ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

When the priest kisses the altar, out of reverence for the relics of the martyrs which are there, say:

Oramus te, Domine, per merita sanctorum tuorum, quorum reliquiæ hic sunt, et omnium sanctorum: ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Amen.
Generous soldiers of Jesus Christ, who have mingled your own blood with his, intercede for us that our sins may be forgiven: that so we may, like you, approach unto God.

 


If it be a High Mass at which you are assisting, the priest incenses the altar in a most solemn manner; this white cloud which you see ascending from every part of the altar signifies the prayer of the Church, who addresses herself to Jesus Christ, while the divine Mediator causes that prayer to ascend, united with his own, to the throne of the majesty of his Father.

The priest then says the Introit. It is a solemn opening anthem, in which the Church, at the very commencement of the holy Sacrifice, gives expression to the sentiments which fill her heart.

It is followed by nine exclamations which are even more earnest, for they ask for mercy. In addressing them to God the Church unites herself with the nine choirs of angels who are standing round the altar of Heaven, which is one and the same as this before which you are kneeling.

To the Father:

Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

To the Son:

Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!

To the Holy Ghost:

Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

Then, mingling his voice with that of the heavenly host, the priest intones the sublime Canticle of Bethlehem, which announces glory to God and peace to men. Instructed by the revelations of God, the Church continues, in her own words, the hymn of the angels. She celebrates with rapture the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world; and, as it were in return for the humiliations he suffered in his Passion, she proclaims that he alone is Holy, he alone is Lord, he alone Most High. Enter, Christians, into these sentiments of profound adoration, confidence, and tender love, towards the Paschal Lamb.

The Angelic Hymn

Gloria in excelsis Deo, Et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.
Laudamus te: benedicimus te: adoramus te: glorificamus te: gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex cœlestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine, Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.
Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.
We praise thee: we bless thee: we adore thee: we glorify thee: we give thee thanks for thy great glory.
O Lord God, Heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son.
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.
Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our humble prayer.
Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For thou alone art holy, thou alone art Lord, thou alone, O Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The priest then turns towards the people, and again salutes them, as it were to make sure of their pious attention to the sublime act for which all this is but the preparation.

Then follows the Collect or Prayer, in which the Church formally expresses to the divine Majesty the special intentions she has in the Mass which is being celebrated. You may unite in this prayer, by reciting with the priest the Collects which you will find in their proper places: but on no account omit to join with the server of the Mass in answering Amen.

After this comes the Epistle, which is generally a portion of one or other of the Epistles of the Apostles, or a passage from some book of the Old Testament. While it is being read, ask of God that you may profit by the instructions it conveys.

The Gradual is an intermediate formula of prayer between the Epistle and the Gospel. It again brings to us the sentiments already expressed in the Introit. Read it with devotion, that so you may enter more and more into the spirit of the mystery proposed to you by the Church.

During Paschal Time the Gradual is not said, except for the first six days: we have elsewhere explained the reason of this exception. On all other days of the season the interval between the Epistle and Gospel is filled up by two Verses, to each of which is added Alleluia, the word that is now ceaselessly on the Church’s lips. After the fifty days of Paschal joy the Gradual will be resumed in the Liturgy.

Next follows the Gospel. It was the Holy Ghost who guided the four Evangelists; their Gospel, which is our light and life, is one of the fruits of the glorious Pentecost. Let us prepare for hearing the words of our risen Lamb: it is he himself that is about to speak to us, as he did to his disciples, when he appeared to them during the days between his Resurrection and Ascension.

If it be a High Mass, the deacon meanwhile prepares to fulfil his noble office—that of announcing the Good Tidings of salvation. He prays God to cleanse his heart and lips. Then, kneeling before the priest, he asks a blessing: and, having received it, at once goes to the place where he is to sing the Gospel.

As a preparation for hearing it worthily, you may thus pray, together with both priest and deacon:

Munda cor meum ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus, qui Jabia Isaiæ Prophetæ calculo mundasti ignito: ita me tua grata miseratione dignare mundare, ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Dominus sit in corde meo et in labiis meis: ut digne et competenter annuntiem Evangelium suum: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Saucti. Amen.
Alas! these ears of mine are but too often defiled with the world’s vain words; cleanse them, O Lord, that so I may hear the words of eternal life, and treasure them in my heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Grant to thy ministers thy grace, that they may faithfully explain the law; that so all, both pastors and flock, may be united to thee for ever. Amen.

You will stand during the Gospel, as though you were waiting the orders of your Lord; and at the commencement make the sign of the cross on your forehead, lips, and breast; and then listen to every word of the priest or deacon. Let your heart be ready and obedient. ‘While my beloved was speaking,’ says the Spouse in the Canticle, ‘my soul melted within me.’[2] If you have not such love as this, have at least the humble submission of Samuel, and say: ‘Speak, Lord! thy servant heareth.’[3]

After the Gospel, if the priest says the Symbol of Faith, the Credo, you will say it with him. Faith is that gift of God without which we cannot please him. It is Faith that initiates us into the sublime Easter Mysteries, which divinize our whole life, and put us in possession of the good things of eternity. Like the holy women at the Sepulchre, let us believe with a lively and simple faith. Let us not wait for experience, as Thomas did; for our Lord has said: ‘Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.’[4] Let us, then, say with the Catholic Church our Mother:

The Nicene Creed

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem cœli et terræ, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia sæcula, Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri, per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de cœlis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine; ET HOMO FACTUS EST. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in cœlum; sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur; qui locutus est per Prophetas. Et unam sanctam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi sæculi. Amen.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. And born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light; true God of true God. Begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And became incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary; AND WAS MADE MAN. He was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he is to come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Priest and the people should by this time have their hearts ready: it is time to prepare the offering itself. And here we come to the second part of the holy Mass, called the Oblation, and immediately following that which was called the Mass of Catechumens, on account of its being formerly the only part at which the candidates for baptism had a right to be present.

See, then, dear Christians! bread and wine are about to be offered to God, as being the noblest of inanimate creatures, since they are made for the nourishment of man; and even that is only a poor material image of what they are destined to become in our Christian Sacrifice. Their substance will soon give place to God himself, and of themselves nothing will remain but the appearances. Happy creatures, thus to yield up their own being, that God may take its place! We, too, are to undergo a like transformation, when, as the Apostle expresses it, ‘that which is mortal shall put on immortality.’[5] Until that happy change shall be realized, let us offer ourselves to God as often as we see the bread and wine presented to him in the holy Sacrifice; and let us glorify him, who, by assuming our human nature, has made us ‘partakers of the divine nature.’[6]

The priest again turns to the people with the usual salutation, as though he would warn them to redouble their attention. Let us read the Offertory with him, and when he offers the Host to God let us unite with him in saying:


Suscipe, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus, hanc immaculatam hostiam, quam ego indignus famulus tuus offero tibi Deo meo vivo et vero, pro innumerabilibus peccatis et offensionibus et negligentiis meis, et pro omnibus circumstantibus, sed et pro omnibus fidelibus christianis vivis atque defunetis; ut mihi et illis proficiat ad salutem in vitam æternam. Amen.
All that we have, O Lord, comes from thee, and belongs to thee; it is just, therefore, that we return it unto thee. But how wonderful art thou in the inventions of thy immense love! This Bread which we are offering to thee is to give place, in a few moments, to the sacred Body of Jesus. We beseech thee, receive, together with this oblation, our hearts, which long to live by thee, and to cease to live their own life of self.

When the priest puts the wine into the chalice, and then mingles with it a drop of water, let your thoughts turn to the divine mystery of the Incarnation, which is the source of our hope and our salvation, and say:

Deus qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquæ et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
O Lord Jesus, who art the true Vine, and whose Blood, like a generous wine, has been poured forth under the pressure of the Cross! thou hast deigned to unite thy divine nature to our weak humanity, which is signified by this drop of water. O come and make us partakers of thy divinity, by showing thyself to us in thy sweet and wondrous visit.

The Priest then offers the mixture of wine and water, beseeching God graciously to accept this oblation, which is so soon to be changed into the reality of which it is now but a figure. Meanwhile, say in union with the Priest:


Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem salutaris, tuam deprecantes clementiam: ut in conspectu divinæ Majestatis tuæ, pro nostra et totius mundi salute, cum odore suavitatis ascendat. Amen.
Graciously accept these gifts, O sovereign Creator of all things. Let them be fitted for the divine transformation,which will make them, from being mere offerings of created things, the instrument of the world's salvation.


After having thus held up the sacred gifts towards heaven, the Priest bows down: let us also humble ourselves, and say:

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te, Domine: et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus.
Though daring, as we do, to approach thy altar, O Lord, we cannot forget that we are sinners. Have mercy on us, and delay not to send us thy Son, who is our saving Host.

Let us next invoke the Holy Ghost, whose operation is about to produce on the altar the presence of the Son of God, as it did in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the divine mystery of the Incarnation:

Veni, Sanctificator, omnipotens æterne Deus, et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini præparatum.
Come, O Divine Spirit, make fruitful the offering which is upon the altar, and produce in our hearts him whom they desire.

If it be a High Mass, the priest, before proceeding any further with the Sacrifice, takes the thurible a second time. He first incenses the bread and wine which have been just offered, and then the altar itself; hereby inviting the faithful to make their prayer, which is signified by the incense, more and more fervent the nearer the solemn moment approaches.

But the thought of his own unworthiness becomes more intense than ever in the heart of the priest. The public confession, which he made at the foot of the altar, is not enough; he would now at the altar itself express to the people, in the language of a solemn rite, how far he knows himself to be from that spotless sanctity wherewith he should approach to God. He washes his hands. Our hands signify our works; and the priest, though by his priesthood he bear the office of Jesus Christ, is, by his works, but man. Seeing your father thus humble himself, do you also make an act of humility, and say with him these verses of the Psalm:

PSALM 25

 

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas: et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine.
Ut audiam vocem laudis: et enarrem universa mirabilia tua.
Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ, et locum habitationis gloriæ tuæ.
Ne perdas cum impiis, Deus, animam meam, et cum viris sanguinum vitam meam.
In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt: dextera eorum repleta est muneribus.
Ego autem in innocentia mea ingressus sum: redime me, et miserere mei.
Pes meus stetit in directo: in ecclesiis benedicam te, Domine.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
I, too, would wash my hands, O Lord, and become like unto those who are innocent, that so I may be worthy to come near thy altar, and hear thy sacred Canticles, and then go and proclaim to the world the wonders of thy goodness. I love the beauty of thy House, which thou art about to make the dwellingplace of thy glory. Leave me not, O God, in the midst of them that are enemies both to thee and me. Thy mercy having separated me from them, I entered on the path of innocence, and was restored to thy grace; but have pity on my weakness still; redeem me yet more, thou who hast so mercifully brought me back to the right path. In the midst of these thy faithful people, I give thee thanks. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Priest, taking encouragement from the act of humility he has just made, returns to the middle of the altar, and bows down full of respectful awe, begging of God to receive graciously the Sacrifice which is about to be offered to him, and expresses the intentions for which it is offered. Let us do the same.

Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus ob memoriam Passionis, Resurrectionis, et Ascensionis Jesu Christi Domini nostri: et in honorem beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis, et beati Joannis Baptistæ, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et istorum, et omnium Sanctorum: ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et illi pro nobis intercedere dignentur in cœlis, quorum memoriam agimus in terris. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O Holy Trinity, graciously accept the Sacrifice we have begun. We offer it in remembrance of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Permit thy Church to join with this intention that of honouring the ever glorious Virgin Mary, the Blessed Baptist John, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the Martyrs whose relics lie here under our altar awaiting their resurrection, and the Saints whose memory we this day celebrate. Increase the glory they are enjoying, and receive the prayers they address to thee for us.

The Priest again turns to the people; it is for the last time before the sacred Mysteries are accomplished. He feels anxious to excite the fervour of the people. Neither does the thought of his own unworthiness leave him; and before entering the cloud with the Lord, he seeks support in the prayers of his brethren who are present. He says to them:

Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem.
Brethren, pray that my Sacrifice, which is yours also, may be acceptable to God, our Almighty Father.

With this request he turns again to the altar, and you will see his face no more until our Lord himself shall have come down from heaven upon that same altar. Assure the Priest that he has your prayers, and say to him:

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.
May our Lord accept this Sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of his name, for our benefit and that of his holy Church throughout the world.

Here the priest recites the prayers called the Secrets, in which he presents the petition of the whole Church for God’s acceptance of the Sacrifice, and then immediately begins to fulfil that great duty of religion, thanksgiving. So far he has adored God and has sued for mercy; he has still to give thanks for the blessings bestowed on us by the bounty of our heavenly Father, the chief of which, during this season, is his gracious fulfilment of the promise he made after the sin of our first parents: he fulfilled it by the Resurrection of the Lamb, who thereby conquered death. The priest, in the name of the Church, is about to give expression to the gratitude of all mankind. In order to excite the faithful to that intensity of gratitude which is due to God for all his gifts, he interrupts his own and their silent prayer by terminating it aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum!
For ever and ever.

In the same feeling, answer your Amen! Then he continues:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Sursum corda!
℣. Lift up your hearts!

Let your response be sincere:

℟. Habemus ad Dominum.
℟. We have them fixed on God.

And when he adds:

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

Answer him with all the earnestness of your soul:

℟. Dignum et justum est.
℟. It is meet and just.

Then the Priest:

The Preface[7]

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, te quidem Domine omni tempore, sed in hoc potissimum gloriosius prædicare, cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Ipse enim verus est Agnus, qui abstulit peccata mundi. Qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit, et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes:
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, to praise thee, O Lord, at all times, but chiefly at this time, when Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For he is the true Lamb, who hath taken away the sins of the world. Who, by dying, hath destroyed our death, and by rising again, hath restored us to life. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly:

Here unite with the Priest, who on his part unites himself with the blessed Spirits, in giving thanks to God for the unspeakable Gift: bow down and say:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus sabaoth!
Pleni sunt cœli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed be the Saviour who is coming to us in the name of the Lord who sends him.
Hosanna be to him in the highest!

After these words commences the Canon, that mysterious prayer, in the midst of which heaven bows down to earth, and God descends unto us. The voice of the priest is no longer heard; yea, even at the altar all is silence. Let a profound respect stay all distractions and keep our senses in submission to the soul. Let us fix our eyes on what the priest does in the holy place.

 

THE CANON OF THE MASS

 

In this mysterious colloquy with the great God of heaven and earth, the first prayer of the sacrificing Priest is for the Catholic Church, his and our mother.

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas hæc dona, hæc munera, hæc sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis quæ tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta Catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare et regere digneris toto orbe terrarum, una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N., et Antistite nostro N., et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicæ et apostolicæ fidei cultoribus.
O God who manifestest thyself unto us by means of the mysteries which thou hast entrusted to thy holy Church, our mother; we beseech thee, by the merits of this sacrifice, that thou wouldst remove all those hindrances which oppose her during her pilgrimage in this world. Give her peace and unity. Do thou thyself guide our Holy Father the Pope, thy Vicar on earth. Direct thou our Bishop, who is our sacred link of unity; and watch over all the orthodox children of the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church.

Here pray, together with the Priest, for those whose interests should be dearest to you.

 

Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N. et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio: pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus, pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suæ; tibique reddunt vota sua æterno Deo vivo et vero.
Permit me, O God, to intercede with thee in more earnest prayer for those for whom thou knowest that I have a special obligation to pray: .  .  .  Pour down thy blessings upon them. Let them partake of  the fruits of this divine Sacrifice, which is offered unto thee in the name of all mankind. Visit them by thy grace, pardon them their sins, grant them the blessings of this present life and of that which is eternal.

Here let us commemorate the Saints: they are that portion of the Body of Jesus Christ which is called the Church Triumphant.

Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosæ semper Virginis Mariæ, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreæ, Jacobi, Joannis, Thomæ, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomæi, Matthæi, Simonis, et Thaddæi: Lini, Cleti, Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Joannis et Pauli, Cosmæ et Damiani, et omnium sanctorum tuorum, quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuæ muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
But the offering of this Sacrifice, O my God, does not unite us with those only of our brethren who are still in this transient life of trial: it brings us closer to those also who are already in possession of heaven. Therefore it is, that we wish to honour by it the memory of the glorious and ever-Virgin Mary, of whom Jesus was born to us: of the Apostles, Confessors, Virgins, and of all the Saints; that so they may assist us by their powerful intercession, to become worthy to contemplate thee, as they now do, in the mansion of thy glory.

The Priest, who, up to this time has been praying with his hands extended, now joins them, and holds them over the bread and wine, as the High Priest of the Old Law did over the figurative victim: he thus expresses his intention of bringing these gifts more closely under the notice of the Divine Majesty, and of marking them as the material offering whereby we profess our dependence, and which is, in a few instants, to yield its place to the living Host, upon whom are laid all our iniquities.

Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostræ, sed et cunctæ familiæ tuæ, quæsumus Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab æterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari. Per Christum Dominuin nostrum. Amen.

Quam oblationem tu Deus in omnibus, quæsumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.
Vouchsafe, O God, to accept this offering which this thy assembled family presents to thee as the homage of its most happy servitude. In return, give us peace, save us from thy wrath and number us among the elect, through him who is coming to us—thy Son our Saviour.

Yea, Lord, this is the moment when this bread is to become his sacred Body, which is our food; and this wine is to be changed into his Blood, which is our drink. Ah! delay no longer, but send to us this divine Son our Saviour!

And here the Priest ceases to act as man; he now becomes more than a mere minister of the Church. His word becomes that of Jesus Christ, with all its power and efficacy. Prostrate yourself in profound adoration; for Emmanuel, God with us, is coming down from heaven.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: et elevatis oculis in cœlum, ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et manducate ex hoc omnes. HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM.
What, O God of heaven and earth, my Jesus, the long expected Messias, what else can I do at this solemn moment but adore thee, in silence as my sovereign Master, and open my whole heart to thee, as to its dearest King! Come then, Lord Jesus, come!

The Divine Lamb is now lying on our altar! Glory and love be to him for ever! But he is come that he may be immolated. Hence, the priest, who is the minister of the will of the Most High, immediately pronounces over the chalice those sacred words which will produce the great mystical immolation, by the separation of the Victim’s Body and Blood. The substances of bread and wine have ceased to exist; the species alone are left, veiling, as it were, the Body and Blood, lest fear should keep us from a mystery which God gives us in order to give us confidence. Let us associate ourselves to the angels, who look upon this deepest wonder with awe and trembling

.

Simili modo postquam cœnatum est, accipiens et hunc præclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes. HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET ÆTERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM. Hæc quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.
O Precious Blood! thou price of my salvation! I adore thee! Wash away my sins, and give me a purity above the whiteness of snow. Lamb ever slain, yet ever living, thou comest to take away the sins of the world. Come also and reign in me by thy power and by thy love!

 

 

 

The Priest is now face to face with God. He again raises his hands towards heaven, and tells our heavenly Father that the oblation now on the altar is no longer an earthly offering, but the Body and Blood, the whole Person, of his divine Son.

Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri tam beatæ Passionis, nec non et ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in cœlos gloriosæ Ascensionis: offerimus præclaræ majestati tuæ de tuis donis ac datis Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, Hostiam immaculatam: Panem sanctum vitæ æternæ, et Calicem salutis perpetuæ.

Supra quæ propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchæ nostri Abrahæ, et quod tibi obtulit summus Sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.
Father of infinite holiness, the Host so long expected is here before thee! Behold this thy eternal Son, who suffered a bitter passion, rose again with glory from the grave, and ascended triumphantly into heaven. He is thy Son; but he is also our Host—Host pure and spotless—our Meat and Drink of everlasting life.

Heretofore thou didst accept the sacrifice of the innocent lambs offered to thee by Abel; and the sacrifice which Abraham made thee of his son Isaac, who, though immolated, yet lived; and lastly, the sacrifice, which Melchisedech presented to thee, of bread and wine. Receive our Sacrifice, which is above all those others. It is the Lamb of whom all others could be but figures; it is the undying Victim; it is the Body of thy Son, who is the Bread of Life, and his Blood, which, whilst a Drink of immortality for us, is a tribute adequate to thy glory.

The Priest bows down to the altar, and kisses it as the throne of love on which is seated the Saviour of men.

 

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube hæc perferri per manus sancti angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinæ majestatis tuæ: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione cœlesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
But, O God of infinite power, these sacred gifts are not only on this altar here below; they are also on that sublime altar of heaven, which is before the throne of thy divine majesty. These two altars are but one and the same, on which is accomplished the great mystery of thy glory and our salvation. Vouchsafe to make us partakers of the Body and Blood of the august Victim, from whom flow every grace and blessing.

Nor is the moment less favourable for making supplication for the Church Suffering. Let us, therefore, ask the divine Liberator who has come down among us that he mercifully visit by a ray of his consoling light the dark abode of Purgatory and permit his Blood to flow, as a stream of mercy, from this our altar, and refresh the panting captives there. Let us pray expressly for those among them who have a claim on our suffrages.

.

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., qui nos præcesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Dear Jesus! let the happiness of this thy visit extend to every portion of thy Church. Thy face gladdens the elect in the holy City; even our mortal eyes can see beneath the veil of our delighted faith: ah! hide not thyself from those brethren of ours who are imprisoned in the place of expiation. Be thou refreshment to them in their flames, light in their darkness, and peace in their agonies of torment.

This duty of charity fulfilled, let us pray for ourselves, sinners, alas! who profit so little by the visit which our Saviour pays us. Let us, together with the priest, strike our breast,

saying:

Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano, Mathia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Cæcilia, Anastasia, et omnibus Sanctis tuis; intra quorum nos consortium, non æstimator meriti, sed veniæ, quæsumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem hæc omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et præstas nobis: per ipsum, et cum ipso et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria.
Alas! we are poor sinners, O God of all sanctity! yet do we hope that thy infinite mercy will grant us to share in thy kingdom, not, indeed, by reason of our works, which deserve little else than punishment, but because of the merits of this Sacrifice, which we are offering to thee. Remember, too, the merits of thy holy Apostles, of thy holy Martyrs, of thy holy Virgins, and of all thy Saints. Grant us, by their intercession, grace in this world, and glory eternal in the next: which we ask of thee, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. It is by him thou bestowest upon us thy blessings of life and sanctification; and by him also, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, may honour and glory be to thee!

Whilst saying these last few words, the priest has taken up the sacred Host, which was on the altar; he has held it over the chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the divine Victim, in order to show that he is now immortal. Then raising up both chalice and Host, he offers to God the most noble and perfect homage which the divine majesty could receive.

This solemn and mysterious rite ends the Canon. The silence of the Mysteries is broken. The priest concludes his long prayers, by saying aloud, and so giving the faithful the opportunity of expressing their desire that his supplications be

granted:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
For ever and ever.

Answer him with faith, and in a sentiment of union with your holy Mother the Church:

Amen.
Amen! I believe the mystery which has just been accomplished. I unite myself to the offering which has been made, and to the petitions of the Church.

It is time to recite the prayer which our Saviour himself has taught us. Let it ascend up to heaven together with the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. How could it be otherwise than heard, when he himself who made it for us is in our very hands now whilst we say it? As this prayer belongs in common to all the children of God, the Priest recites it aloud, and begins by inviting us all to join in it.

Oremus

Præceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:
Let us Pray

Having been taught by a saving precept, and following the form given us by a divine instruction, we thus presume to speak:

The Lord's

Prayer

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis: Sanctificetur nomen tuum: Adveniat regnum tuum: Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: thy kingdom come: thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation.

Let us answer with deep feeling of our misery:

Sed libera nos a malo.
But deliver us from evil.

The Priest falls once more into the silence of the holy Mysteries. His first word is an affectionate Amen to your last petition—deliver us from evil—on which he forms his own next prayer: and could he pray for anything more needed? Evil surrounds us everywhere, and the Lamb on our altar has been sent to expiate it and deliver us from it.

Libera nos, quæsumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, præteritis, præsentibus et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus Sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiæ tuæ adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus.
How many, O Lord, are the evils which beset us! Evils past, which are the wounds left on the soul by her sins, and which strengthen her wicked propensities. Evils present, that is, the sins now at this very time upon our soul, the weakness of this poor soul, and the temptations which molest her. There are also future evils, that is, the chastisement which our sins deserve from the hands of thy justice. In presence of this Host of our salvation, we beseech thee, O Lord, to deliver us from all these evils, and to accept in our favour the intercession of Mary the Mother of Jesus, of thy holy Apostles Peter and Paul and Andrew. Liberate us, break our chains, give us peace: through Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth God.

The Priest is anxious to announce the Peace which he has asked and obtained; he therefore finishes his prayer aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
World without end.

℟. Amen.

Then he says:

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.
May the peace of our Lord be ever with you.

To this paternal wish reply:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℟. And with thy spirit.

The Mystery is drawing to a close: God is about to be united with man, and man with God, by means of Communion. But first, an imposing and sublime rite takes place at the altar. So far the Priest has announced the Death of Jesus; it is time to proclaim his Resurrection. To this end, he reverently breaks the sacred Host, and having divided it into three parts, he puts one into the chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the immortal Victim. Do you adore and say:

Hæc commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam æternam. Amen.
Glory be to thee, O Saviour of the world, who didst, in thy Passion, permit thy precious Blood to be separated from thy sacred Body, afterwards uniting them again together by thy divine power.

Offer now your prayer to the ever-living Lamb, whom St John saw on the Altar of Heaven 'standing as if slain:'[8] say to this your Lord and King, who has taken upon himself all our iniquities, in order to wash them away by his Blood:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, give us peace.

Peace is the grand object of our Saviour’s coming into the world: He is the ‘Prince of Peace.’ The divine Sacrament of the Eucharist ought therefore to be the mystery of peace, and the bond of Catholic unity; for as the Apostle says, ‘all we who partake of one Bread, are all one Bread and one Body.’[9] It is on this account that the priest, now that he is on the point of receiving, in Communion, the sacred Host, prays that fraternal peace may be preserved in the Church, and more especially in this portion of it which is assembled round the altar. Pray with him, and for the same

blessing:

Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis: Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne respicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiæ tuæ: eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare et coadunare digneris. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst to thy Apostles,my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: regard not my sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant her that peace and unity which is according to thy will. Who livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If it be a High Mass, the priest here gives the kiss of peace to the deacon, who gives it to the sub-deacon, and he to the choir. During this ceremony, you should excite within yourself feelings of Christian charity, and pardon your enemies, if you have any. Then continue to pray with the

priest:

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntate Patris, cooperante Spiritu Sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti: libera me per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum, ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis, et universis malis, et fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis, et a te nunquam separari permittas. Qui cum eodem Deo Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas Deus in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, according to the will of thy Father, through the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, hast by thy death given life to the world; deliver me by this thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my iniquities, and from all evils; and make me always adhere to thy commandments, and never suffer me to be separated from thee, who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If you are going to Communion at this Mass, say the following Prayer; otherwise, prepare yourself to make a Spiritual Communion:

Perceptio Corporis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, quod ego indignus sumere præsumo, non mihi proveniat in judicium et condemnationem: sed pro tua pietate prosit mihi ad tutamentum mentis et corporis, et ad medelam percipiendam. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Let not the participation of thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgement and condemnation; but through thy mercy may it be a safeguard and remedy both to my soul and body. Who with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

When the Priest takes the Host into his hands, in order to his receiving it in Communion, say:

Panem cœlestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo.
Come, my dear Jesus, come!

When he strikes his breast, confessing his unworthiness, say thrice with him these words, and in the same disposition as the centurion of the Gospel, who first used them:

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.
Lord, I am not worthy thou shouldst enter under my roof: say it only with one word of thine, and my soul will be healed.

While the Priest receives the sacred Host, if you also are to communicate, adore profoundly your God, who is ready to take up his abode within you, and again say to him with the spouse: Come, Lord Jesus, come!’

But should you not be going to receive sacramentally, make a Spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ who thus visits your soul by his grace, and say to him:

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.
I give thee, O Jesus, this heart of mine, that thou mayest dwell in it, and do with me what thou wilt.

Then the Priest takes the chalice, in thanksgiving, and says:

Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus, quæ retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. Laudans invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero.
What return shall I make to the Lord for all he hath given to me? I will take the Chalice of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.

But if you are to make a Sacramental Communion, you should, at this moment of the Priest’s receiving the precious Blood, again adore the God who is coming to you, and keep to your canticle: Come, Lord Jesus, come!’

If, on the contrary, you are going to communicate only spiritually, again adore your divine Master, and say to him:

Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.
I unite myself to thee, my beloved Jesus! do thou unite thyself to me! and never let us be separated.

It is here that you must approach to the altar, if you are going to Communion. The dispositions suitable for holy Communion during this season of Paschal Time are given in the next chapter.

The Communion being finished, whilst the Priest is purifying the chalice the first time, say:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus: et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.
Thou hast visited me, O God, in these days of my pilgrimage; give me grace to treasure up the fruits of this visit for my future eternity.

Whilst the Priest is purifying the chalice the second time, say:

Corpus tuum, Domine, quod sumpsi, et Sanguis quem potavi, adhæreat visceribus meis: et præsta ut in me non remaneat scelerum macula, quem pura et sancta refecerunt Sacramenta. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Be thou for ever blessed, O my Saviour, for having admitted me to the sacred mystery of thy Body and Blood. May my heart and senses preserve, by thy grace, the purity which thou hast imparted to them: and I be thus rendered less unworthy of thy divine visit.

The Priest having read the Antiphon called the Communion, which is the first part of his thanksgiving for the favour just received from God, whereby he has renewed his divine presence among us, turns to the people with the usual salutation; after which he recites the prayers called the Postcommunion, which are the completion of the thanksgiving. You will join him here also, thanking God for the unspeakable gift he has just lavished on you, and asking him, with most earnest entreaty, that he will bestow upon you perseverance in the joy of Paschal Time, and vigilance over yourself during the whole course of this day, that so you may keep up within you the love of that new life which gives you a right to the company of our risen Jesus.

These Prayers having been recited, the Priest again turns to the people, and full of joy for the immense favour he and they have been receiving, he says:

Dominus vobiscum.
The Lord be with you.

Answer him:


Et cum spiritu tuo.
And with thy spirit.

The deacon, or, if it be not a High Mass, the priest himself, then says:


Ite, Missa est.
Go, the Mass is finished.
℟. Deo gratias.
℟. Thanks be to God.




The Priest makes a last Prayer, before giving you his blessing; pray with him:

Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meæ, quod oculis tuæ majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique, et omnibus pro quibus illud obtuli sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Eternal thanks be to thee, O adorable Trinity, for the mercy thou hast showed to me, in permitting me to assist at this divine Sacrifice. Pardon me the negligence and coldness wherewith I have received so great a favour, and deign to confirm the blessing, which thy Minister is about to give me in thy Name.

The Priest raises his hand, and thus blesses you:

Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.

℟. Amen.
May the Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless you!

℟. Amen.

He then concludes the Mass, by reading the first fourteen verses of the Gospel according to St John, which tell us of the eternity of the Word, and of the mercy which led him to take upon himself our flesh, and to dwell among us. The Evangelist tells us that this divine Word, the Creator of light, is himself the true Light. This Light suddenly shone forth from the darkness of the tomb. The Jew refused to see it; the Christian hails it with joy, for it is the Life of men.

.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
The Last Gospel
Initium sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.
Cap. I.

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt; et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est. In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum: et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt. Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes. Hic venit in testimonium, ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. Erat lux vera, quæ illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his, qui credunt in nomine ejus: qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. ET VERBUM CARO FACTUM EST, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiæ et veritatis.

℟. Deo gratias.
℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. And with thy spirit.

The beginning of the Holy Gospel according to John.
Ch. I.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to be made the sons of God; to them that believe in his name, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, and dwelt amongst us; and we saw his glory, as it were the glory of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

℟. Thanks be to God.

[1] Sequence for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
[2] Cant. v 6.
[3] 1 Kings iii 10.
[4] St John xx 29.
[5] 1 Cor. xv 53.
[6] 2 St Pet. i 4.
[7] The Prefaces for the Ascension, Pentecost, the Annunciation, and the Solemnity of St Joseph, are given in the Masses for those feasts.
[8] Apoc. v 6.
[9] 1 Cor. x 17.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

IN Passiontide, the Christian went to holy Communion impressed with these words of the Apostle: ‘As often as ye shall eat this Bread, and drink the Chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord.’[1] He united himself with the divine Victim immolated for the sins of the world, and he died with his Saviour. During Paschal Time, the heavenly Food produces its effects in another manner; it fortifies the life of the soul, and gives to the body the germ of immortality. It is true that in each season of the liturgical year this twofold effect is produced in those who worthily receive Communion, namely, immolation and resurrection; but as, during the days consecrated to the Passion, the application of the mystery of immolation and sacrifice is more direct and more in accordance with the sentiments of the communicant, so also, during Paschal Time, the divine contact of the Body of our risen Jesus makes us feel, in a way that Easter alone can do, that to the holy Eucharist we owe the future resurrection of our bodies.

Our Saviour himself teaches us this, where he says: ‘Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that if any man eat of it, he may not die. . . . He that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up in the last day.’[2]

We shall all resume these bodies of ours on the Last Day, either for glory or punishment eternal; but he that worthily unites himself by holy Communion with the glorious and risen Body of the Man-God contracts an alliance and intimacy with him which forbid this divine Guest to leave in corruption these members made his own by the sublime Mystery.

We must, therefore, approach the holy Table during Eastertide with an ardent ambition for our resurrection, knowing as we do that we then receive into our bodies an element which is to preserve them even when turned into dust; and which, moreover, confers on them a right to the qualities of glorified bodies, whose beauty and happiness will be like those of our Jesus, after he had risen from the grave.

Now, if our Redeemer does all this for our bodies by means of holy Communion—giving them, by it, the pledge of immortality—what must he not do for our souls, in order to strengthen and increase within them that ‘new life,’ that Resurrection-life, which is the fruit of Easter, the object of all our past efforts, the reward of all the victories we have gained over ourselves during the campaign of Lent? Nay, unless this new life be fostered by frequent Communion, it is in danger of growing weak, perhaps even of becoming extinct within us. The Apostle tells us that ‘Christ, having risen from the dead, dieth now no more;’[3] we, then, must die no more, for we are risen with him. To this end, we must hunger after the Bread of Heaven, of which our Jesus says: ‘If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever.’[4]

We offer to our readers the following Preparation for holy Communion during Easter. There are souls that feel the want of some such assistance as this; and, for the same reason, We will add a form of Thanksgiving for after Communion.

BEFORE COMMUNION

 

Act of Faith

O Saviour of mankind! the magnificence of thy works shines so brightly that we are compelled to give glory to thy name and proclaim thee to be the Son of God. We believed in thee, when thou didst show thyself a weak Babe in the Crib of Bethlehem; there was a mysterious power that attracted us, and, with the Angels, we adored thee wrapped in thy humble swathing-bands. When we saw thee hanging on the Cross, outraged and blasphemed by a whole people, we still acknowledged thee to be our King, and said to thee, with the Good Thief: ‘Remember us, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy Kingdom!’ But now that thou hast triumphed over death, and art risen glorious from the tomb; now that the whole earth resounds with thy praise, and the tidings of thy Resurrection fill all nations with a gladness as fresh as though thy triumph were but of this very year: who can refuse to confess thy Divinity, adore thy Mysteries, and cry out with thy disciple: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Though my eyes see thee not, though my hands cannot touch thy sacred wounds, yet do I most firmly believe thee to be my Lord and my God. Thou hast said: ‘Happy they that have not seen, and have believed:’ of these happy believers I would be one, O Jesus! I confess that thou hast verily risen, the Son of God and the Son of Man. I believe, also, that thou art the living Bread come down from heaven to give life to the world, and that I am about to receive thee into myself. Increase this my faith, O my Lord and my God! that so I may render thee the worship thou claimest from me, thy poor but happy creature.

Act of Humility

O divine Conqueror of death! who could see thee in the splendour of thy majesty, and not tremble? Before thy Passion, thou grantedst a mere glimpse of thy glory to the three disciples on Thabor, and they fell down as though they were dead: and now, when the brightness of thy Resurrection dazzles even the eyes of the Angels, thou wishest to do far more than show thyself to me. Thou vouchsafest to come down to my nothingness, to unite me, a weak unworthy creature, with thyself, who art no longer in the Crib or on the Cross, and art soon to ascend to the right hand of thy eternal Father! Thou, the Author of light, and thyself the infinite Light, art about to shine amidst such darkness as mine! If I reflect upon my nothingness, this thy condescension fills me with delighted wonder; but when I remember that I have been so great a sinner, this union with thee overpowers me. How can thy sovereign holiness and my sinfulness be brought thus together? Thine Evangelist tells me, that ‘the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness doth not comprehend it,’ for the darkness of pride ever thinks itself to be the light, and sees not the ‘true Light’: let it not be thus with me, my Jesus! I humble myself before thee; I acknowledge my misery—it is immense; deign then, O divine Light! to pour out on me the riches of thine infinite mercy.

Act of Contrition

O Saviour of the world! O Conqueror of death! thou art coming to me, and I am but a sinner. Thou willest to treat me as thou didst thy disciples on the day of thy Resurrection. They had basely abandoned thee in thy Passion, and thou didst return to them: thou wast all affection to them; thou badest them not fear; not a word of reproach fell from thy lips. Thou wouldst have them learn from this thy loving forgiveness how guilty they had been in leaving such a Master. O thou best of masters! I, too, must learn the same lesson. But how much more grievous my sins have been than were theirs! They knew so little of thee when they sinned; whereas I sinned with all the fulness of light upon me, knowing my Jesus so well. Thy Apostles were not initiated into all thy Mysteries, when they lost their courage; they had not as yet received the Holy Ghost, who has been so unreservedly given to me. I will, then, imitate them in the sorrow they felt when they found that he whom they had offended was so deserving of their love. Yes, I detest my sins whereby I have so cruelly wounded thy Sacred Heart; I acknowledge that sin is death, and the enemy of that life which thou renewest within us by thy Resurrection. I wish to die to sin, and live to grace. By the Mystery of life which thou art about to apply to my repentant heart, deign, I beseech thee, to preserve me from the misery of ever again forfeiting thy grace.

Act of Love

O Jesus! thy Resurrection is not only the trophy of thy victory, it is moreover, and more evidently, the grand triumph of thy love. It was out of love for us that thou didst assume our flesh and suffer the cruel Passion; and yet these proofs of thine adorable goodness towards us are but a preparation of the last great act of God’s love for sinful man, his creature. Thou risest from the tomb, thou takest possession of immortality; it is a triumph well merited by thy humiliations and sufferings: but it is all for our sake. What need hadst thou of the Crib or the Cross, O eternal and infinitely happy God? Why wouldst thou die, and then return to life? Why descend into the grave, and then leave it by a glorious Resurrection? Ah yes, I understand thee, my Jesus! it was because thou lovest us, who had merited death by our sins. In thine incomprehensible love, thou wouldst share in our death, that we might share in thy Resurrection. Whether nailed to the Cross, or rising from the tomb, thou art ever our own dearest Jesus, ever working for us; but the last act of thy almighty love is the greatest. What return can I make thee, O my Saviour, if not that of the warmest love? And when should I give it more fervently than now, when thou art about to give me that Bread of Heaven which is thyself, and by which thou unitest me to thy Resurrection, in order to make me a sharer of thy glory and immortality? Thou art mine, O Jesus! both in thy death and thy life! I wish to be thine, for time and for eternity. Amen.

In order to make your preparation complete, follow, with a lively faith and attention, all the mysteries of the Mass at which you are to receive Communion; using for this purpose the method we have given in the preceding chapter. For your thanksgiving after Communion, you may sometimes recite the following Acts:

AFTER COMMUNION


Act of Adoration

O infinite majesty! thou art in me, and I am in thee. The earth shook when thou didst rise from the tomb; and now, at this blissful moment, feeling thee within me, my whole being thrills with delight. Thou art here in my heart; thou the great God, whose will alone created the light and whose almighty power reunited thy Soul and Body for a glorious Resurrection. I most profoundly adore thine omnipotence, which is now united to my poor nature. No, my Almighty Father! thou shalt find no resistance here; thou art my Sovereign Lord, and I delightedly confess it. Thou hast come down from heaven to this lowly dwelling of my misery, my nothingness, in order to receive my adoration; thou shalt have it, dear Lord! the humblest and best I can give: for my soul is overpowered by the wondrous honour thou art now conferring upon me! Thou art the infinite Being, the Creator and Preserver of all things! I adore thee as my King and Lord and Master: my happiness and glory is in my total dependence upon thee; the one ambition of my heart is to serve thee.

Act of Thanksgiving

O my Jesus! would that I had power to acknowledge as it deserves the favour of this thy visit. Thou art come to me in order to give me a share in thine own life. I am weak: the mere remembrance of thy Resurrection would not suffice to give me perseverance in the new life it has merited for me: I needed thee, and thou hast graciously come to me, silently and humbly, and yet with all thine omnipotence and glory. When thou didst visit thine Apostles on the day of thy Resurrection, thou saidst to them: ‘It is I, fear not!’ So, too, thou speakest to my soul: thou biddest me fear not at the sight of thy majesty and mine own misery and unworthiness. The sweet greeting given to them is now given to me: ‘Peace be with thee!’ Most gratefully do I receive it. Blessed be thou, my Jesus, for the provident and tender love wherewith thou hast visited me, broken the chains of my captivity, made me a partaker in thy triumph, fortified me against my enemies; and all this by putting within me thine own immortal life by the Communion I have just received! I will say, then, with the Royal Prophet: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul! and let all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul! and never forget all he hath done for thee! He hath redeemed thy life from destruction: he hath renewed thy youth as that of the eagle.’

Act of Love

O Jesus! laden thus with thy choicest favours, I must repay thy love by all the love this heart of mine can give. When Magdalen was at thy tomb, and heard the sound of thy voice, her soul melted within her; throwing herself at thy feet, she could say nothing but call thee ‘Master!’ And I, dear Jesus, my Master! I who not only hear thy words, but feel thee within me, what must I say to thee that will tell thee my love for thee? The disciples of Emmaus had but a conversation with thee, and they said to each other: ‘Was not our heart burning within us whilst he spoke in the way?’ What must I say, who have thee now resting in my heart? I must take courage, and tell thee that I love thee, my risen Jesus! Thou didst take Magdalen’s love, thou didst encourage that of thy disciples; deign also to receive mine. If it be weak, thou canst add to its ardour. I am firmly resolved by the aid of thy grace never to admit anything that could lessen my love of thee; I will do all in my power to give it increase; and, for this end. I will frequently approach this adorable Sacrament, for it is indeed the Sacrament of Love.

Act of Oblation

O Jesus! I belonged to thee, because I was redeemed by thee: I am thine now, because thou hast restored life to me by thy Resurrection, and because, by this happy Communion, thou hast made me a partaker in all the glory of thy victory over death. Henceforth, thy lot and mine are one; like thee, I am dead to sin and alive unto God. Take me, then, my dearest Jesus! I offer and give myself to thee, nor will I ever again leave thee. Do with me what thou willest; I am thy redeemed, and the companion of thy glory; my present, my future, my eternity, all are in thy hands. Therefore do I renounce myself, that I may be guided by thee; I renounce the world and its maxims, for they are enemies to the new life I am resolved to lead. But that I may be faithful, I have need of a powerful and never-failing aid. This aid, my Jesus! is thy Holy Spirit. Thou hast promised him to us. Our Easter joy will not be perfect until he come and dwell within us. Send him, then, I beseech thee, to me. Thou art to ascend into heaven: leave me not an orphan. I know that I have thee in this adorable Sacrament; but I cannot receive it as often as I wish, and my necessities recur at every hour. Vouchsafe, then, to renew within me the presence of this Holy Spirit, who will preserve and give efficacy to the graces thou hast bestowed upon me by this Communion.

O Mary! by the joy that filled thy maternal heart at the Resurrection of thy Jesus, I beseech thee to intercede for me with him, that I may never lose the grace of the visit he has this day granted me. Ye holy angels of God, who adore him now dwelling within me, be solicitous for the holiness and purity of my soul and body! All ye Saints of God, pray for me, that I may ever be faithful to him whom ye loved on earth, and now possess as your infinite Good and your eternal happiness! Amen.

 

[1] 1 Cor. xi 26.
[2] St John vi 49, 50, 55.
[3] Rom. vi 9.
[4] St John vi 52.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

THE Office of Vespers, or Evensong, consists firstly of the five following Psalms. According to our custom, we preface each Psalm with a short explanation, in order to draw attention to what is most in harmony with the spirit of the Easter mysteries.

After the Pater and Ave have been said in secret, the Church commences this Hour with her favourite supplication:

 

℣. Deus in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:
Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Alleluia.

ANT. Dixit Dominus.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

ANT. The Lord said.

 

ANT. Alleluia.
ANT. Alleluia.

Under this single Antiphon all the Psalms are sung, if the Vespers are of the Sunday; but on feasts the Antiphons are proper, and will be given on their respective days.

The first Psalm is a prophecy of the future glory of the Messias. It celebrates his Eternal Generation, his being equal with the Father, his Kingship and Priesthood. He was humbled for a while, even so as to drink of the torrent: but now he has triumphed over his enemies, and will come in glory at the end of the world to judge them.

.

psalm 109

 

Dixit Dominus Domino meo: * Sede a dextris meis.
Donec ponam inimicos tuos: * scabellum pedum tuorum.
Virgam virtutis tuæ emittet Dominus ex Sion: * dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum.
Tecum principium in die virtutis tuæ in splendoribus sanctorum: * ex utero ante luciferum genui te.
Juravit Dominus, et non poenitebit eum: * Tu es Sacerdos in æternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech.
Dominus a dextris tuis: * confregit in die iræ suæ reges.
Judicabit in nationibus, implebit ruinas: * conquassabit capita in terra multorum.
De torrente in via bibet: * propterea exaltabit caput.


The Lord said to my Lord, his Son: Sit thou at my right hand, and reign with me.
Until, on the day of thy last coming, I make thy enemies thy footstool.
O Christ! the Lord thy Father will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: from thence rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.
With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength, in the brightness of the saints: For the Father hath said to thee: From the womb before the day-star I begot thee.
The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: he hath said, speaking of thee, the God-Man: Thou art a Priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.
Therefore, O Father, the Lord, thy Son, is at thy right hand: he hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall also judge among nations: in that terrible coming he shall fill the ruins of the world: he shall crush the heads in the land of many.
He cometh now in humility; he shall drink in the way of the torrent of sufferings: therefore shall be lift up the head on the day of his triumph over death.


The following Psalm commemorates the mercies of God to his people, the promised Covenant, the Redemption, his fidelity to his word. The Resurrection of Christ (of which our own is a consequence) was one of God’s promises; and we are now celebrating its accomplishment.

psalm 110

 

Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo: * in concilio justorum et congregatione.
Magna opera Domini: * exquisita in omnes voluntates ejus.
Confessio et magnificentia opus ejus: * et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
Memoriam fecit mirabilium suorum, misericors et miserator Dominus: * escam dedit timentibus se.
Memor erit in sæculum testamenti sui: * virtutem operum suorum annuntiabit populo suo.
Ut det illis haereditatem Gentium: * opera manuum ejus veritas et judicium.
Fidelia omnia mandata ejus, confirmata in sæculum sæculi: * facta in veritate et æquitate.
Redemptionem misit populo suo: * mandavit in æternum testamentum suum.
Sanctum et terribile nomen ejus: * initium sapientiæ timor Domini.
Intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus eum: * laudatio ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.


I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: in the council of the just, and in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills.
His work is praise and magnificence: and his justice continueth for ever and ever.
He hath made a remembrance of his wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord: he hath given food to them that fear him.
He will be mindful for ever of his covenant with men: he will show forth to his people the power of his works.
That he may give them, his Church, the inheritance of the Gentiles: the works of his hands are truth and judgement.
All his commandments are faithful, confirmed for ever and ever: made in truth and equity.
He hath sent redemption to his people; he hath thereby commanded his covenant for ever.
Holy and terrible is his name: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever.



The next Psalm sings the happiness and hopes of the just man. The light that rises up in darkness is our risen Jesus, who appears to us in his mercy. The wicked one, who is angry at the triumph of him who is par excellence the just, is the Jew, to whom the Resurrection was a source of the most bitter regret and confusion.

psalm 111

 

Beatus vir qui timet Dominum: * in mandatis ejus volet nimis.
Potens in terra erit semen ejus: * generatio rectorum benedicetur.
Gloria et divitiæ in domo ejus: * et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis: * misericors, et miserator, et justus.
Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat, disponet sermones suos in judicio: * quia in æternum non commovebitur.
In memoria æterna erit justus: * ab auditione mala non timebit.
Paratum cor ejus sperare in Domino, confirmatum est cor ejus: * non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos.
Dispersit, dedit pauperibus, justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi: * cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria.
Peccator videbit et irascetur, dentibus suis fremet et tabescet: * desiderium peccatorum peribit.


Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in his commandments.
His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.
To the righteous a light is risen up in darkness: he is merciful, and compassionate, and just.
Acceptable is the man that showeth mercy and lendeth; he shall order his words with judgement: because he shall not be moved for ever.
The just shall be in everlasting remembrance: he shall not fear the evil hearing.
His heart is ready to hope in the Lord; his heart is strengthened: he shall not be moved until he look over his enemies.
He hath distributed, he hath given to the poor; his justice remaineth for ever and ever: his horn shall be exalted in glory.
The wicked shall see, and shall be angry; he shall gnash with his teeth, and pine away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.

The Psalm Laudate pueri is a Canticle of praise to the Lord, who from his high heaven has taken pity on the fallen human race, and humbled himself by taking our nature, which he afterwards raised up by his Resurrection.

psalm 112

 

Laudate, pueri, Dominum: * laudate nomen Domini.
Sit nomen Domini benedictum: * ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.
A solis ortu usque ad occasum: * laudabile nomen Domini.
Excelsus super omnes Gentes Dominus: * et super cœlos gloria ejus.
Quis sicut Dominus Deus noster qui in altis habitat: * et humilia respicit in cœlo et in terra?
Suscitans a terra inopem: * et de stercore erigens pauperem.
Ut collocet eum cum principibus: * cum principibus populi sui.
Qui habitare facit sterilem in domo: * matrem filiorum lætantem.


Praise the Lord, ye children: praise ye the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord: from henceforth now and for ever.
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of praise.
The Lord is high above all nations: and his glory above the heavens.
Who is as the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high: and looketh down on the low things in heaven and in earth, nay, who cometh down amidst us?
Raising up the needy from the earth: and lifting up the poor out of the dunghill.
That he may place him with princes: with the princes of his people.
Who maketh a barren woman to dwell in a house, the joyful mother of children.

The fifth PsalmIn exitu, speaks of the ancient Pasch (the exodus from Egypt) and the prodigies that accompanied and followed it; of the Red Sea, the figure of Baptism; of the water which issued from the rock in the desert; and of the abolition of idol-worship. Our Christian Pasch and Pentecost are the fulfilment of all these figures; they bring a blessing upon all, Jews or Gentiles, who love or fear Christ. In consequence of our sins, we were condemned to go down into hell, where we should never have heard the glad hymns of praise sung to our God in the heavenly Jerusalem: but the Resurrection of Christ has restored us to life, and we sing, to his and his Father’s praise, the joyous Alleluia.

.

psalm 113

 

In exitu Israel de Ægypto: * domus Jacob de populo barbaro.
Facta est Judæa sanctificatio ejus: * Israel potestas ejus.
Mare vidit, et fugit: * Jordanis conversus est retrorsum.
Montes exsultaverunt ut arietes: * et colles sicut agni ovium.
Quid est tibi, mare, quod fugisti: * et tu, Jordanis, quia conversus es retrorsum?
Montes exsultastis sicut arietes: * et colles sicut agni ovium?
A facie Domini mota est terra: a facie Dei Jacob.
Qui convertit petram in stagna aquarum: * et rupem in fontes aquarum.
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis: * sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
Super misericordia tua, et veritate tua: * nequando dicant Gentes: Ubi est Deus eorum?
Deus autem noster in cœlo: * omnia quæcumque voluit, fecit.
Simulacra Gentium argentum et aurum: * opera manuum hominum.
Os habent, et non loquentur: * oculos habent, et non videbunt.
Aures habent, et non audient: * nares habent, et non odorabunt.
Manus habent, et non palpabunt, pedes habent, et non ambulabunt: * non clamabunt in gutture suo.
Similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea: * et omnes qui confidunt in eis.
Domus Israel speravit in Domino: * adjutor eorum et protector eorum est.
Domus Aaron speravit in Domino: * adjutor eorum et protector eorum est.
Qui timent Dominum, speraverunt in Domino: * adjutor eorum et protector eorum est.
Dominus memor fuit nostri: * et benedixit nobis.
Benedixit domui Israel: * benedixit domui Aaron.
Benedixit omnibus qui timent Dominum: * pusillis cum majoribus.
Adjiciat Dominus super vos: * super vos, et super filios vestros.
Benedicti vos a Domino: * qui fecit cœlum et terrain.
Cœlum cœli Domino: * terram autem dedit filiis hominum.
Non mortui laudabunt te, Domine: * neque omnes qui descendunt in infernum.
Sed nos qui vivimus, benedicimus Domino: * ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.

ANT. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people.
Judea was made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
The sea saw and fled; Jordan was turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams: and the hills like the lambs of the flock.
What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou didst flee: and thou, O Jordan, that thou wast turned back?
Ye mountains that ye skipped like rams: and ye hills like lambs of the flock?
At the presence of the Lord the earth was moved, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
Who turned the rock into pools of water, and the stony hills into fountains of water.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us: but to thy name give glory.
For thy mercy and for thy truth's sake: lest the Gentiles should say: Where is their God?
But our God is in heaven: he hath done all things whatsoever he would.
The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold: the works of the hands of men.
They have mouths, and speak not: they have eyes, and see not.
They have ears, and hear not: they have noses, and smell not.
They have hands, and feel not: they have feet, and walk not: neither shall they cry out through their throat.
Let them that make them become like unto them: and all such as trust in them.
The house of Israel hath hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
The house of Aaron hath hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
They that feared the Lord have hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
The Lord hath been mindful of us, and hath blessed us.
He hath blessed the house of Israel: he hath blessed the house of Aaron.
He hath blessed all that fear the Lord, both little and great.
May the Lord add blessings upon you: upon you, and upon your children.
Blessed be you of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The heaven of heaven is the Lord’s: but the earth he has given to the children of men.
The dead shall not praise thee, O Lord, nor any of them that go down to hell.
But we that live bless the Lord: from this time now and for ever.
ANT. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

After these five Psalms, a short Lesson from the holy Scriptures is read. It is called Capitulum, because it is always very short. Those for the Sundays of Eastertide are given in the Proper.

After the Capitulum, follows the Hymn, Ad regias, which was written by St Ambrose, though somewhat changed in the seventeenth century.

Hymn[1]

 

Ad regias Agni dapes,
Stolis amicti candidis,
Post transitum maris Rubri,
Christo canamus principi.

Divina cujus charitas
Sacrum propinat sanguinem,
Almique membra corporis
Amor sacerdos immolat.

Sparsum cruorem postibus
Vastator horret Angelus;
Fugitque divisum mare,
Merguntur hostes fluctibus.

Jam Pascha nostrum Christus est,
Paschalis idem victima,
Et pura puris mentibus
Sinceritatis azyma.

O vera cœli victima,
Subjecta cui sunt tartara,
Soluta mortis vincula,
Recepta vitae præmia.

Victor subactis inferis
Trophæa Christus explicat,
Cœloque aperto, subditum
Regem tenebrarum trahit.

Ut sis perenne mentibus
Paschale, Jesu, gaudium,
A morte dira criminum
Vitæ renatos libera.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
In sempiterna sæcula. Amen.
℣. Mane nobiscum, Domine, alleluia.  ℟. Quoniam advesperascit, alleluia.
Having passed the Red Sea,
and now seated at the royal banquet of the Lamb,
clad in our white robes,
let us sing a hymn to Christ our King.

He, in his divine love for us,
gives us to drink of his precious Blood.
Love is the priest
that immolates his sacred Body.

The destroying angel looks with awe upon the Blood
that is sprinkled on the thresholds.
The sea divides its waters,
and buries our enemies in its waves.

Christ is now our Pasch;
he is our Paschal Lamb;
he is the unleavened Bread of sincerity,
pure food for pure souls.

O truly heavenly Victim!
by whom hell was vanquished,
the fetters of death were broken,
and life was awarded to mankind.

Christ, our Conqueror, unfolds his banner,
for he has subdued the powers of hell.
He opens heaven to man,
and leads captive the prince of darkness.

That thou, O Jesus, mayst be
an endless Paschal joy to our hearts, free us,
who have been regenerated unto life,
from the dread death of sin.

Glory be to God the Father,
and to the Son who rose from the dead,
and to the Paraclete,
for everlasting ages. Amen.
℣. Stay with us, O Lord, alleluia. ℟. For it is now evening, alleluia.

Then is said the Magnificat Antiphon, which is to be found in the Proper for the several days. After this the Church sings the Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat. This exquisite Canticle is an essential part of the Vespers throughout the year. It gives us the words of our blessed Lady, wherein she expresses to St Elizabeth the transports of her joy and gratitude at bearing God within her womb. Let us join her in celebrating the ineffable honour bestowed upon her, the merits of that profound humility which rendered her worthy of such an honour, the overthrow of the proud spirits who were driven from heaven, and the exaltation of human nature, of itself so poor and miserable, to that high place from which the angels fell.

Our Lady's Canticle
(St Luke i)

Magnificat: * anima mea Dominum.
Et exsultavit spiritus meus: * in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ: * ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est: * et sanctum nomen ejus.
Et misericordia ejus a progenie in progenies: * timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: * dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede: * et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis: * et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum: * recordatus misericordiæ suæ.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros: * Abraham et semini ejus in sæcula.
My soul doth magnify the Lord;
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for, behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generation, to them that fear him.
He hath showed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy.
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

The Magnificat Antiphon is then repeated. The Prayer, or Collect, will be found in the Proper of each Sunday.

The Vespers end with the following Versicles:

℣. Benedicamus Domino.
. Deo gratias.

℣. Fidelium animæ per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.
. Amen.
℣. Let us bless the Lord.
. Thanks be to God.

℣. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
℟. Amen.

 

[1] According to the Monastic Rite, it is as originally composed. It is preceded by the following Responsory:

℟. breve.—Surrexit Dominus vere. * Alleluia, Alleluia. Surrexit. ℣. Et apparuit Simoni. Alleluia. Gloria Patri, etc. Surrexit.

Ad cœnam Agni providi,

Et stolis albis candidi,

Post transitum maris Rubri

Christo canamus Principi.

Cujus corpus sanctissimum

In ara Crucis torridum,

Cruore ejus roseo

Gustando vivimus Deo.

Protecti Paschæ vespere 

A devastante Angelo,

Erepti de durissimo

Pharaonis imperio.

Jam Pascha nostrum Christus est,

Qui immolatus Agnus est,

Sinceritatis azyma 

Caro ejus oblata est.

O vere digna hostia,

Per quam fracta sunt tartara,

Redempta plebs captivata,

Reddita vitæ præmia.

Consurgit Christus tumulo,

Victor redit de barathro,

Tyrannum tradens vinculo

Et paradisum reserans.

Quæsumus, Auctor omnium,

In hoc Paschali gaudio,

Ab omni mortis impetu 

Tuum defende populum.

Gloria tibi Domine,

Qui surrexisti a mortuis,

Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu,

In sempiterna sæcula. Amen.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

THIS Office, which concludes the day, commences by a warning of the dangers of the night; then immediately follows the public confession of our sins, as a powerful means of propitiating the divine justice and obtaining God’s help, now that we are going to spend so many hours in the unconscious and therefore dangerous state of sleep, which is also such an image of death.

The Lector, addressing the priest, says to him:

℣. Jube, domne, benedicere.
. Pray, Father, give thy blessing.

The priest answers:

Noctem quietam, et finem perfectum concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens.

℟. Amen.
May the Almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.

℟. Amen.

The lector then reads these words, from the first Epistle of St Peter:

Fratres: Sobrii estote, et vigilate: quia adversarius vester diabolus, tamquam leo rugiens circuit quærens quem devoret: cui resistite fortes in fide. Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis.
Brethren, be sober and watch: for your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour: resist him, being strong in faith. But thou, O Lord, have mercy on us.

The choir answers:

, Deo gratias.
. Thanks be to God.

Then the priest:

. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.

The choir:

. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.
. Who hath made heaven and earth.

Then the Lord’s Prayer is recited in secret; after which the priest says the Confiteor; and when he has finished, the choir says:

Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam æternam.
May Almighty God be merciful to thee, and, forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.

The priest having answered Amen, the choir repeats the Confiteor, thus:

Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus Sanctis, et tibi Pater: quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes Sanctos, et te, Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.
I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to thee, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, and thee, Father, to pray to our Lord God for me.

The priest then says:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam æternam.

. Amen.
May Almighty God be merciful to you, and, forgiving your sins, bring you to everlasting life.

. Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, ct remissionem peccatorum nostrorum, tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

℟. Amen.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.

℟. Amen.

 


℣. Converte nos, Deus, Salutaris noster.
℟. Et averte iram tuam a nobis.
℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

Gloria Patri, etc. Alleluia.

ANT. Miserere.
℣. Convert us, O God our Saviour.
℟. And turn away thy anger from us.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory, etc. Alleluia.

ANT. Have mercy.


The first Psalm expresses the confidence with which the just man sleeps in peace; but the wicked know not what calm rest is. The beautiful countenance of our risen Lord sheds light and gladness upon the faithful, and renews the hope of their own resurrection, which is to be after their sleep in the tomb.

PSALM 4

Cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus justitiæ meæ: * in tribulatione dilatasti mihi.
Miserere mei: * et exaudi orationem meam.
Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde: * ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quæritis mendacium?
Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum: * Dominus exaudiet me, cum clamavero ad eum.
Irascimini, et nolite peccare: * quæ dicitis in cordibus vestris, in cubilibus vestris compungimini.
Sacrificate sacrificium justitiæ, et sperate in Domino: * multi dicunt: Quis ostendit nobis bona?
Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui Domine: * dedisti lætitiam in corde meo.
A fructu frumenti, vini et olei sui: * multiplicati sunt.
In pace in idipsum: * dormiam et requiescam.
Quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe: * constituisti me.
When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, thou hast enlarged me.
Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?
Know ye also that the Lord hath made his Holy One wonderful: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him.
Be ye angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.
Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, who showeth us good things?
The Light of thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: thou hast given gladness in my heart.
By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they are multiplied.
In peace, in the self same, I will sleep, and I will rest.
For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.

The second Psalm gives the motives of the just man’s confidence, even during the dangers of the night. Then we have God himself speaking, and promising to them that serve him eternal happiness, and the sight of the Saviour whose Resurrection gave them life.

PSALM 90

Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi: * in protectione Dei cœli commorabitur.
Dicet Domino: Susceptor meus es tu, et refugium meum, * Deus meus, sperabo in eum.
Quoniam ipse liberavit me de laqueo venantium: * et a verbo aspero.
Scapulis suis obumbrabit tibi: * et sub pennis ejus sperabis.
Scuto circumdabit te veritas ejus: * non timebis a timore nocturno.
A sagitta volante in die, a negotio perambulante in tenebris: * ab incursu, et dæmonio meridiano.
Cadent a latere tuo mille, et decem millia a dextris tuis: * ad te autem non appropinquabit.
Verumtamen oculis tuis considerabis: * et retributionem peccatorum videbis.
Quoniam tu es, Domine, spes mea: * Altissimum posuisti refugium tuum.
Non accedet ad te malum: * et flagellum non appropinquabit tabernaculo tuo.
Quoniam Angelis suis mandavit de te: * ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.
In manibus portabunt te: * ne forte offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum.
Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis: * et conculcabis leonem et draconem.
Quoniam in me speravit, liberabo eum: * protegam eum, quoniam cognovit nomen meum.
Clamabit ad me, et ego exaudiam eum: * cum ipso sum in tribulatione, eripiam eum, et glorificabo eum.
Longitudine dierum replebo eum: * et ostendam illi Salutare meum.
He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven.
He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in him will I trust.
For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
Of the arrow that flieth in the day: of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
But thou shalt consider with thy eyes: and shalt see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast said: Thou, O Lord, art my hope: Thou hast made the Most High thy refuge.
There shall no evil come to thee, nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling.
For he hath given his Angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt walk upon the asp and basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
God will say of thee: Because he hoped in me, I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known my name.
He will cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him, and I will glorify him.
I will fill him with length of days: and I will show him my salvation.

The third Psalm invites the servants of God to persevere with fervour in the prayers they offer during the night. The faithful should say this psalm in a spirit of gratitude to God for raising up in the Church adorers of his holy name, whose grand vocation is to lift up their hands, day and night, for the safety of Israel. On such prayers depend the happiness and the destinies of the world.

PSALM 133

Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum: * omnes servi Domini.
Qui statis in domo Domini: * in atriis domus Dei nostri.
In noctibus extollite manus vestras in sancta: * et benedicite Dominum.
Benedicat te Dominus ex Sion: * qui fecit coelum et terram.

ANT. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Behold now bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord.
Who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
In the nights lift up your hands to the holy places, and bless ye the Lord.
Say to Israel: May the Lord out of Sion bless thee, he that made heaven and earth.

ANT. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Hymn[1]

Te lucis ante terminum,
Rerum Creator, poscimus,
Ut pro tua clementia
Sis præsul et custodia.

Procul recedant somnia,
Et noctium phantasmata;
Hostemque nostrum comprime,
Ne polluantur corpora.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.
Before the closing of the light,
we beseech thee, Creator of all things!
that, in thy clemency,
thou be our protector and our guard.

May the dreams and phantoms of night
depart far from us;
and do thou repress our enemy,
lest our bodies be profaned.

Glory be to God the Father,
and to the Son, who rose from the dead,
and to the Paraclete,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.

 

Capitulum
(Jeremias xiv)

Tu autem in nobis es, Domine, et nomen sanctum tuum invocatum est super nos; ne derelinquas nos, Domine Deus noster.
℟. In manus tuas, Domine: Commendo spiritum meum. * Alleluia, alleluia. In manus tuas.

℣. Redemisti nos, Domine Deus veritatis. * Alleluia, alleluia. Commendo.
Gloria.
In manus tuas.
℣. Custodi nos, Domine, ut pupillam oculi. Alleluia.
. Sub umbra alarum tuarum protege nos, alleluia. ANT. Salva nos.
But thou art in us, O Lord, and thy holy name has been invoked upon us: forsake us not, O Lord our God.
. Into thy hands, O Lord: I commend my spirit. * Alleluia, alleluia.  Into thy hands.

℣. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God of truth. * Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory.
Into thy hands.
℣. Preserve us, O Lord, as the apple of thine eye. Alleluia.
. Protect us under the shadow of thy wings, alleluia.   ANT. Save us.

The Canticle of the venerable Simeon—who, while holding the divine Infant in his arms, proclaimed him to be the Light of the Gentiles, and then slept the sleep of the just—admirably expresses the repose of heart which the soul that is in the grace of God will experience in her Jesus; for, as the apostle says, we may live together with Jesus, whether we are awake or asleep.[2]

Canticle Of Simeon
(St Luke ii)

Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine: * secundum verbum tuum in pace.
Quia viderunt oculi mei: * Salutare tuum.
Quod parasti: * ante faciem omnium populorum.
Lumen ad revelationem Gentium: * et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, etc.
ANT. Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes, custodi nos dormientes: ut vigilemus cum Christo, et requiescamus in pace. Alleluia.
Now dost thou dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace.
Because my eyes have seen thy salvation.
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples.
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory, etc.
ANT. Save us, O Lord, while awake, and watch us as we sleep; that we may watch with Christ, and rest in peace. Alleluia.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
. Et cum spiritu tuo.

OREMUS

Visita, quæsumus Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias inimici ab ea longe repelle: angeli tui sancti habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant: et benedictio tua sit super nos semper. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
. And with thy spirit.

LET US PRAY

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this house and family, and drive from it all snares of the enemy: let thy holy angels dwell herein, who may keep us in peace, and may thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Benedicamus Domino.
℟. Deo gratias.

Benedicat et custodiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.
. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
. And with thy spirit.

℣. Let us bless the Lord.
℟. Thanks be to God.

May the almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless and preserve us.
℟. Amen.

Anthem to the Blessed Virgin

There is a venerable tradition connected with this joyous anthem. It is related that a fearful pestilence raged in Rome, during one of the Easters of the pontificate of St Gregory the Great. In order to propitiate the anger of God, the holy Pope prescribed a public procession of both people and clergy, in which was to be carried the portrait of our blessed Lady painted by St Luke. The procession was advancing in the direction of St Peter’s; and as the holy picture, followed by the Pontiff, was carried along, the atmosphere became pure and free from pestilence. Having reached the bridge which joins the city with the Vatican, a choir of angels was heard singing above the picture, and saying: ‘Rejoice, O Queen of heaven, alleluia! for he whom thou didst deserve to bear, alleluia! hath risen, as he said, alleluia!’ As soon as the heavenly music ceased, the saintly Pontiff took courage, and added these words to those of the angels: ‘Pray to God for us, alleluia!’ Thus was composed the Paschal anthem to our Lady. Raising his eyes to heaven, Gregory saw the destroying angel standing on the top of the Mole of Hadrian, and sheathing his sword. In memory of this apparition the Mole was called the Castle of Sant’ Angelo, and on the dome was placed an immense statue representing an angel holding his sword in the scabbard.

Anthem

Regina cœli, lætare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

℣. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
℟. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus.

Deus, qui per Resurrectionem Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es: præsta quæsumus, ut per ejus Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

℣. Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum.
℟. Amen.[3]
Rejoice, O Queen of heaven, alleluia,
For he whom thou didst deserve to bear, alleluia,
Hath risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray to God for us, alleluia.

℣. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
℟. For the Lord hath truly risen, alleluia.

Let us Pray.

O God, who, by the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, didst vouchsafe to make the world rejoice; grant, we beseech thee, that by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may receive the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

℣. May the divine assistance remain always with us.
℟. Amen.

Then in secret, Pater, Ave, and Credo, p. 27.


[1] According to the Monastic Rite, as follows: 

Te lucis ante terminum, Rerum Creator, poscimus, Ut solita clementia Sis præsul ad custodiam. Procul recedant somnia Et noctium phantasmata; Hostemque nostrum comprime Ne polluantur corpora. Gloria tibi Domine Qui surrexisti a mortuis, Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu In sempiterna sæcula.

[2] 1 Thess. v. 10.
[3] In the Monastic Rite, this Response is as follows:

℣. Et cum fratribus nostris absentibus. Amen.            ℟. And with our absent brethren. Amen.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The solemnity of Pentecost and its octave are over, and the progress of the liturgical year introduces us into a new period, which is altogether different from those we have hitherto spent. From the very beginning of Advent, which is the prelude to the Christmas festival, right up to the anniversary of the descent of the Holy Ghost, we have witnessed the entire series of the mysteries of our redemption; all have been unfolded to us. The sequel of seasons and feasts made up a sublime drama, which absorbed our very existence; we have but just come from the final celebration, which was the consummation of the whole. And yet we have gone through but one half of the year. This does not imply that the period we have still to live is devoid of its own special mysteries; but, instead of keeping up our attention by the ceaseless interest of one plan hurrying on to its completion, the sacred liturgy is about to put before us an almost unbroken succession of varied episodes, of which some are brilliant with glory, and others exquisite in loveliness, but each one of them bringing its special tribute towards either the development of the dogmas of faith or the furtherance of the Christian life. This year’s cycle will thus be filled up; it will disappear; a new one will take its place, bringing before us the same divine facts, and pouring forth the same graces on Christ’s mystical body.

This section of the liturgical year, which comprises a little more or a little less than six months according as Easter is early or late, has always had the character it holds at present. But, although it admits only detached solemnities and feasts, the influence of the movable portion of the cycle is still observable. It may have as many as twenty-eight or as few as twenty-three weeks. This variation depends not only upon the Easter feast, which may occur on any of the days between March 22 and April 25 inclusively, but also on the date of the first Sunday of Advent, which is the opening of a new ecclesiastical year, and is always the Sunday nearest the Kalends of December.

In the Roman liturgy the Sundays of this series go under the name of ‘Sundays after Pentecost.’ As we shall show in the next chapter, that title is the most suitable that could have been given, and is found in the oldest sacramentaries and antiphonaries, but it was not universally adopted even by those Churches which followed the Roman rite; in progress of time, however, that title became the general one. To mention some of the previous early names: in the Comes of Alcuin, which takes us back to the eighth century, we find the first section of these Sundays called ‘Sundays after Pentecost’; the second is named ‘weeks after the feast of the Apostles’ (post natale Apostolorum); the third goes under the title of ‘weeks after St. Laurence’ (post Sancti Laurentii); the fourth has the appellation of ‘weeks of the seventh month’ (September); and, lastly, the fifth is termed ‘weeks after St. Michael’ (post Sancti Angeli), and lasts till Advent. As late as the sixteenth century many missals of the western Churches gave us these several sections of the Time after Pentecost, but some of the titles varied according to the special saints honoured in the respective dioceses, whose feasts were taken as the date-marks of this period of the year. The Roman missal, published by order of St. Pius V, has gradually been adopted in all our Latin churches, and has restored the ancient denomination to the ecclesiastical season we have just entered upon; so that the only name under which it is now known amongst us is ‘the Time after Pentecost’ (post Pentecosten).

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

That we may thoroughly understand the meaning and influence of the season of the liturgical year upon which we have now entered, it is requisite for us to grasp the entire sequel of mysteries, which holy Church has celebrated in our presence and company; we have witnessed her services, and we have shared in them. The celebration of those mysteries was not an empty pageant, acted for the sake of being looked at. Each one of them brought with it a special grace, which produced in our souls the reality signified by the rites of the liturgy. At Christmas Christ was born within us; at Passiontide He passed on and into us His sufferings and atonements; at Easter He communicated to us His glorious, His untrammelled life; in His Ascension He drew us after Him, and this even to heaven’s summit; in a word, as the apostle expresses all this working, ‘Christ was formed in us.’[1]

But, in order to give solidity and permanence to the image of Christ formed within us, it was necessary that the Holy Ghost should come, that so He might increase our light, and enkindle a fire within us that should never be quenched. This divine Paraclete came down from heaven; He gave Himself to us; He wishes to take up His abode within us, and to take our life of regeneration entirely into His own hands. The liturgy of this Time after Pentecost signifies and expresses this regenerated life, which is to be spent on the model of Christ’s, and under the direction of His Spirit.

Two objects here offer themselves to our consideration: the Church and the Christian soul. As to holy Church, the bride of Christ, filled as she is with the Paraclete Spirit, who has poured Himself forth upon her, and from that time forward is her animating principle, she is advancing onwards in her militant career, and will do so till the second coming of her heavenly Spouse. She has within her the gifts of truth and holiness. Endowed with infallibility of faith and authority to govern, she feeds Christ’s flock, sometimes enjoying liberty and peace, sometimes going through persecutions and trials. Her divine Spouse abides with her, by His grace and the efficacy of His promises, even to the end of time; she is in possession of all the favours He has bestowed upon her; and the Holy Ghost dwells with her, and in her, for ever. All this is expressed by this present portion of the liturgical year. It is one wherein we shall not meet with any of those great events which prepared and consummated the divine work; but, on the other hand, it is a season when holy Church reaps the fruits of the holiness and doctrine, which those ineffable mysteries have already produced, and will continue to produce during the course of ages. It is during this same season that we shall meet with the preparation for, and in due time the fulfilment of, those final events which will transform our mother’s militant life on earth into the triumphant one in heaven. As far, then, as regards holy Church, this is the meaning of the portion of the cycle we are commencing.

As to the faithful soul, whose life is but a compendium of that of the Church, her progress, during the period which is opened to her after the pentecostal feasts, should be in keeping with that of our common mother. The soul should live and act in imitation of Jesus, who has united Himself with her by the mysteries she has gone through; she should be governed by the Holy Spirit, whom she has received. The sublime episodes peculiar to this second portion of the year will give her an increase of light and life. She will put unity into these rays, which, though scattered in various directions, emanate from one common centre; and, advancing from brightness to brightness,[2] she will aspire to being consummated in Him whom she now knows so well, and whom death will enable her to possess as her own. Should it not be the will of God, however, to take her as yet to Himself, she will begin a fresh year, and live over again those mysteries which she has already enjoyed in the early portion of previous liturgical cycles, after which she will find herself once more in the season that is under the direction of the Holy Ghost, till at last her God will summon her from this world, on the day and at the hour which He has appointed from all eternity.

Between the Church, then, and the soul, during the time intervening from the descent of the divine Paraclete to the consummation, there is this difference—that the Church goes through it but once, whereas the Christian soul repeats it each year. With this exception the analogy is perfect. It is our duty, therefore, to thank God for thus providing for our weakness by means of the sacred liturgy, whereby He successively renews within us those helps which enable us to attain the glorious end of our creation.

Holy Church has so arranged the order for reading the Books of Scripture during the present period as to express the work then accomplished, both in the Church herself and in the Christian soul. For the interval between Pentecost and the commencement of August, she gives us the four Books of Kings. They are a prophetic epitome of the Church’s history. They describe how the kingdom of Israel was founded by David, who is the type of Christ victorious over His enemies, and by Solomon, the king of peace, who builds a temple in honour of Jehovah. During the centuries comprised in the history given in those books, there is a perpetual struggle between good and evil. There are great and saintly kings, such as Asa, Ezechias, and Josias; there are wicked ones, like Manasses. A schism breaks out in Samaria; infidel nations league together against the city of God. The holy people, continually turning a deaf ear to the prophets, give themselves up to the worship of false gods, and to the vices of the heathen, till at length the justice of God destroys both temple and city of the faithless Jerusalem; it is an image of the destruction of this world, when faith shall be so rare, that the Son of Man, at His second coming, shall scarce find a vestige of it remaining.

During the month of August, we read the Sapiential Books, so called because they contain the teachings of divine Wisdom. This Wisdom is the Word of God, who is manifested unto men through the teachings of the Church, which, because of the assistance of the Holy Ghost permanently abiding within her, is infallible in the truth.

Supernatural truth produces holiness, which cannot exist, nor produce fruit, where truth is not. In order to express the union there is between these two, the Church reads to us, during the month of September, the books called ‘hagiographic’; these are Tobias, Judith, Esther, and Job, and they show Wisdom in action.

At the end of the world the Church will have to go through combats of unusual fierceness. To keep us on the watch, she reads to us, during the month of October, the Books of Machabees; for there we have described to us the noble-heartedness of those defenders of the Law of God, for which they gloriously died; it will be the same at the last days, when power will be ‘given to the beast to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.’[3]

The month of November gives us the reading of the Prophets: the judgments of God impending upon a world which He is compelled to punish by destruction are there announced to us. First of all, we have the terrible Ezechiel; then Daniel, who sees empire succeeding empire, till the end of all time; and finally the Minor Prophets, who for the most part foretell the divine chastisements, though the latest among them proclaim, at the same time, the near approach of the Son of God.

Such is the mystery of this portion of the liturgical cycle, which is called the Time after Pentecost. It includes also the use of green vestments, for that colour expresses the hope of the bride, who knows that she has been entrusted by her Spouse to the Holy Ghost, and that He will lead her safe to the end of her pilgimage. St. John says all this in those few words of his Apocalypse: ‘The Spirit and the bride say, Come!’[4]


[1] Gal. iv. 19.
[2] 2 Cor. iii. 18.
[3] Apoc. xiii. 7.
[4] Ibid, xxii. 17.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The object which the Church has in view by her liturgical year is the leading of the Christian soul to union with Christ, and this by the Holy Ghost. This object is the one which God Himself has in giving us His own Son to be our mediator, our teacher, and our Redeemer, and in sending us the Holy Ghost to abide among us. To this end is directed all that aggregate of rites and prayers which we have hitherto explained: they are not a mere commemoration of the mysteries achieved for our salvation by the divine goodness, but they bring with them the graces corresponding to each of those mysteries; that thus we may come, as the apostle expresses it, ‘to the age of the fullness of Christ.’[1]

As we have elsewhere explained, our sharing in the mysteries of Christ, which are celebrated in the liturgical year, produces in the Christian what is called in mystic theology the illuminative life, in which the soul gains continually more and more of the light of the Incarnate Word, who, by His examples and teachings, renovates each one of her faculties, and imparts to her the habit of seeing all things from God’s point of view. This is a preparation which disposes her for union with God, not merely in an imperfect manner and one that is more or less inconstant, but in an intimate and permanent way, which is called the unitive life. The production of this life is the special work of the Holy Ghost, who has been sent into this world that He may maintain each one of our souls in the possession of Christ, and may bring to perfection the love whereby the creature is united with its God.

In this state, in this unitive life, the soul is made to relish, and assimilate into herself, all that substantial and nourishing food which is presented to her so abundantly during the Time after Pentecost. The mysteries of the Trinity and of the blessed Sacrament, the mercy and the power of the Heart of Jesus, the glories of Mary and her influence upon the Church and souls—all these are manifested to the soul with more clearness than ever, and produce within her effects not previously experienced. In the feasts of the saints, which are so varied and so grand during this portion of the year, she feels more and more intimately the bond which unites her to them in Christ, through the holy Spirit. The eternal happiness of heaven, which is to follow the trials of this mortal life, is revealed to her by the feast of All Saints; she gains clearer notions of that mysterious bliss, which consists in light and love. Having become more closely united to holy Church, the bride of her dear Lord, she follows her in all the stages of her earthly existence; she takes a share in her sufferings; she exults in her triumphs. She sees, and yet is not daunted at seeing, this world tending to its decline, for she knows that the Lord is nigh at hand. As to what regards herself, she is not dismayed at feeling that her exterior life is slowly giving way, and that the wall which stands between her and the changeless sight and possession of the sovereign Good is gradually falling to decay; for, it is not in this world that she lives, and her heart has long been where her treasure is.[2]

Thus enlightened, thus attracted, thus established by the incorporation into herself of the mysteries wherewith the sacred liturgy has nourished her, as also by the gifts poured into her by the Holy Ghost, the soul yields herself up, and without any effort, to the impulse of the divine mover. Virtue has become all the more easy to her as she aspires, it would almost seem naturally, to what is most perfect; sacrifices, which used formerly to terrify, now delight her; she makes use of this world as though she used it not,[3] for all true realities, as far as she is concerned, exist beyond this world; in a word, she longs all the more ardently after the eternal possession of the object she loves, as she has been realizing, even in this life, what the apostle describes where he speaks of a creature as being ‘one spirit with the Lord’[4] by being united to Him in heart.

Such is the result ordinarily produced in the soul by the sweet and healthy influence of the sacred liturgy. But if it seem to us that, although we have followed it in its several seasons, we have not as yet reached the state of detachment and expectation just described, and that the life of Christ has not, so far, absorbed our own individual life into itself, let us be on our guard against discouragement on that account. The cycle of the liturgy with its rays of light and grace for the soul, is not a phenomenon that occurs only once in the heavens of holy Church; it returns each year. Such is the merciful design of God, ‘who hath so loved the world as to give it His only-begotten Son’[5]—of God, ‘who came not to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him.’[6] And holy Church is but carrying out that design by putting within our reach the most powerful of all means for leading man to his God, and uniting him to his sovereign Good; she thus testifies the earnestness of her maternal solicitude. The Christian who has not been led to the term we have been describing by the first half of the cycle will still meet, in this second, with important aids for the expansion of his faith and the growth of his love. The Holy Ghost, who reigns in a special manner over this portion of the year, will not fail to influence his mind and heart; and, when a fresh cycle commences, the work thus begun by grace has a new chance of receiving that completeness which had been retarded by the weakness of human nature.


[1] Eph. iv. 13.
[2] St. Matt. vi. 21.
[3] 1 Cor. vii. 31.
[4] Ibid. vi. 17.
[5] St. John iii. 16.
[6] Ibid. 17.

 

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